Catalogue #:RBT-003
Composer Dresden Meditation (Download License)
Ross C. Bernhardt

Dresden Meditation (Download License)

Mixed choir, unaccompanied

The author of the text of this composition, Norbert Čapek (1870-1942) was the founder of the Unitarian movement in what is now the Czech Republic. Originally destined for the Catholic priesthood, he converted to the Baptist faith; however, his views gradually became more liberal, and he was forced to emigrate to the United States. After discovering Unitarianism there, he and his wife returned to Prague to found a Unitarian church there, which soon became the largest in the world.

After the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia, Čapek’s liberal views caught the attention of the new regime. In 1942 he was arrested and charged with a capital crime–listening to foreign broadcasts on the radio. After incarceration at Pankrác Prison in Prague, he was transferred to internment in Dresden (where the text of this composition was written), and afterwards to Dachau concentration camp. He was tortured there and eventually executed in the gas chamber at Hartheim Castle.

Čapek’s Flower Communion, initiated in his Prague church to celebrate the diversity of life, continues to be an important part of worship in Unitarian congregations throughout the world.


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